The Family History Love Story

Valentines heart for love

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  It seems like a good day to talk about the family history love story. Did your ancestors live the ultimate love story, were they star-crossed lovers, have a fairy-tale romance or  were they more of a fatal attraction?

How do you find the love story in your family history?

Look to your ancestor’s history to understand if there is a love story waiting to be told.

Did something or someone keep your relatives apart?

Did your ancestors fall in love but were faced with ongoing obstacles that kept their love story tumultuous?

Obstacles that often stood in the way of great romances included war, geography, social status, family members who objected, different cultures or religions, money and age are but a few.

Perhaps you’re not writing the ultimate love story but that doesn’t mean there can’t be a little romance in your family history stories. I know it’s difficult to see our ancestors in this light. However, no one expects you to write long romantic interludes between two of your relatives. Of course, if you have those details from a diary or letters and you feel it necessary to share them as an integral part of the story that is your call as the author.  Even then, you’ll want to keep in mind your audience. You should be just as comfortable writing it as you are reading it. If you are faced with intimate details in your ancestor’s diaries, remember less is more, you don’t necessarily need to share all the details.

Most of us will never face the problem of having to deal with diaries filled with our ancestor’s intimate love life details. However, that doesn’t prevent us from injecting a little romance into our stories in the simplest form of a touch, a kiss, hand-holding, a look or a word.

Where do you look for evidence of the romance in your family history?

Look to some of the following sources to help you find the romance.

1.       Letters and Diaries– A perfect way to add a little romance to your family history is to include excerpts from letters or diaries that reveal a romantic feeling or gesture of your ancestors.

2.      Oral Traditions – If your parents or grandparents told you a story of how they met, how they got engaged, a romantic interlude or details their wedding day, these all are capable of adding a little romance to your story.  Interview family members who may have witnessed signs of affections between your ancestors, these first-hand accounts can help add a little romance to your pages.

3.       Social History– There it is again. Can’t express to you enough just how much your social history research will come into play. What would dating or courting looked like in the period of your ancestors?  What did a typical wedding day look like?

4.       Own Observations – perhaps your own observations of your parents, grandparents or if you were lucky enough your great-grandparents can add some spice to your writing. Did you observe a romantic gesture or exchange that you can add to your family history narrative? You just might be surprised what your own memory holds.

Don’t write your family history void of romance. Look for those morsels of romance in your research so you can write a family history that will reveal all sides of your ancestor’s character.